Massive pub explosion rocks Sapporo
At least 42 people injured as bar explodes in Japan
An explosion has torn through a pub and nearby restaurant in the northern Japanese city of Sopporo, injuring at least 42 people and causing chaotic scenes, according to government officials.
At least one person is listed as being in critical condition, after the blast ripped through the premises, showering the surrounding area with glass and starting several fires.
Hokkaido Police public relations officer Ryohei Kashihara said the cause of the explosion, which ended with the collapse of one of the buildings above it around 8.30pm local time, was still unclear.
Local residents reported smelling gas shortly after the explosion, but it has not been confirmed that a gas leak was behind the blast.
The State reports that grey smoke could be seen billowing from the building, as teams of firefighters struggled to get the blaze under control.
The Japan Times reports that the injured range in age from a one-year-old to people in their 60s, with the blast mainly affecting the Izakaya Cherry Blossom pub, a real estate office and nearby health clinic.
The Sapporo fire department told CNN that “more than 20 fire engines were deployed”, and that “the number of reported injuries could rise”.